Global Strike Challenge 2010: Meet the Operations Group team members

  • Published
  • By Valerie Mullett
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs Office
Editor's Note: This is part one in a three-part series highlighting the 2010 Global Strike Challenge Teams. Next week will feature the Maintenance Group teams.

Just a short time after celebrating its first anniversary as the newest command in the Air Force, the second phase of the inaugural Global Strike Challenge competition is set to begin Sept. 20. For one week, members of all AFGSC missile wings will pit their best operations and maintenance teams against one another for a chance at claiming the Blanchard Trophy later in the year. The scores they receive during competition Sept. 20-24 will be combined with the security forces team scores in November to determine the overall winner at a score posting ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.

This week will feature the members of the Operations Group.

10th Missile Squadron
Selected to represent the 10th Missile Squadron are Capt. Colin Merrin and 1st Lt. Megan Steele. The pair are busy like their sister squadron competitors training and studying to be as prepared as possible.

"The nuclear enterprise requires all personnel to be extremely proficient at their duties," said Lieutenant Steele. "Our duty as missileers is very important to ensuring that our adversaries understand our capability and will to protect our country."

In order to meet the capability portion, the squadrons test monthly, receive monthly training and must be able to be evaluated at a moment's notice, she explained.

According to Captain Merrin, most of the training is done in the missile procedures trainer, however a regular amount of classroom training has been added to the mix.

The pair will be working together to perform given tasks and to work through complicated scenarios, according to Lieutenant Steele, who believes in the value of competition.

"Competition helps build unit cohesion, morale, and most importantly - pride," she said.

Lt. Col. Peter Bonetti is the commander of the 10th MS.

12th Missile Squadron
The team of 1st Lts. Matthew Berry and Adam Hamlin have been selected to represent the 12th Missile Squadron Red Dawgs. Lieutenant Berry is slated for promotion to captain before the start of the competition.

Lieutenant Berry has a unique approach to his training for this competition stating that it is nearly impossible to prepare for every scenario the trainers, or competition evaluators, could show them.

"The best we can do is study and memorize as many of the easy items as we can, and practice as many wild scenarios as possible," he said. "We have teams of script writers working on presenting simulations that are far and above anything most of us had imagined before."

"It's extensive, to say the least," said Lieutenant Hamlin, of the competition preparation. "It's our only job right now - to get ready to compete."

Both missileers are looking forward to that happening.

"I am extremely competitive and really enjoy any chance I get to see where I stack up," Lieutenant Berry said. "It will be awesome to put those skills up against the top missile crews in the Air Force."

Lieutenant Hamlin is more excited about the score posting event.

"Until then, our opponents are just nameless, faceless faces," he said. "That will be the first time we'll all get to meet each other."

Lt. Col. Steven Kravitsky is the commander of the 12th MS.

490th Missile Squadron
The Farsiders have selected the team of Capt. Kevin Hullihan and 1st Lt. Brian Marlow to compete for the 490th Missile Squadron.

"I am filled with pride at the prospect of representing Wing One in the Global Strike Challenge," said Captain Hullihan. "This is but one small step in returning to the great days of the 1960s, where the promises of deterrence offered by SAC (Strategic Air Command) shaped the world. It is heartening that the Air Force is returning to its historic roots."

Along with his crew commander, Lieutenant Marlow feels an enormous sense of pride.

"There are years worth of tradition that I now belong to," he said. "Just a year ago I was upgrading to deputy and I would hear stories about Guardian Challenge and how tough it was. Now I am working my hardest to win this competition and bring home a Malmstrom win."

Captain Hullihan is another competitor looking forward to the score posting events at Barksdale.

"While the operations portion of the competition is our primary focus, there are other significant parts to the competiton," he said. "We will see the synergistic product of our efforts when the scores are posted. This validates the larger dialectic inherent in training and education."

Lt. Col . Matthew Guenther is the commander of the 490th MS.

All of the competitors expressed what an honor and privilege it is to have been selected to represent Malmstrom in the inaugural Global Strike Challenge competition; all have relayed the incredible amount of dedication and training it takes to get prepared; all have rendered thanks to their commanders, co-workers and trainers for their expertise; and all are ready to forge ahead.

"The OG Global Strike Challenge crews have made preparation their primary concern," Captain Hullihan said. "We have not only studied on alert but we are training intensely in the missile procedures trainer 12 hours a day, six days a week. The prospect of exhibiting our skill excites us and motivates us to the final victory against the other wings."

The wing commander will announce the Malmstrom Global Strike Challenge Team Sept. 17 in the 3-Bay Hangar. Starting at 2:30 p.m. there will be hot dogs, hamburgers and drinks. Team introduction will begin at 3 p.m. Everyone is invited to participate.